Trying and trying.
Some days you’re your own worst enemy, and can’t get out of your own way, you know? I don’t mean this in the way that scumbag racists Jason Wood, Lisa Alexander, Michael Lofthouse, or any of the other nimrod shitheels who are roadblocked by their own ignorance, and white-hot insecurities are. I mean by uncertainty, and perhaps an inability to allow the universe to send you on the course it has destined for you.
Anyone who’s spent any amount of time here over the course of the last year has perhaps been witness to my own journey of self exploration, while in the terrors of re-imagining my life from the ground up, as I’ve struggled with nearly every minute of it. I’ve described my process through it all being like that of a TV that overheats and periodically shuts off, only then allowing itself a bit of a reset. The reset is all well and good for a span of time until it gets overheated resulting once again in a shut down, a reset and so on. The last few weeks I’ve been wholly immersed in this cycle leaving me to wonder if after all of the work, travel, therapy, self reflection, etc. whether I’ve made any growth or forward advancement whatsoever. This leads to frustration, a renewed sadness, more fear, and ultimately a paralyzation, and inability to make any forward movement. Coupled with cortisol-induced lack of sleep resulting in a mania that can only be described as blinding. I wouldn’t wish this on my own worst enemy, and I can only hope I’ll eventually be granted a reprieve.
Trust that the universe and your guides will help you find where you’re supposed to be. Don’t succumb to the voices in your head, especially if your voice is as big an assholes as mine, and for the love of God be nice to yourself. It’s not a bad mantra… Now if I could just actually apply it.
In an effort to be nicer to myself and not spread my energies so thin, it was about a year and a half ago when I pared down the site a bit and went about posting twice a week. Then when I left town, I went to one day a week, because I wasn’t quite sure when I’d actually be around connectivity long enough to publish our regular missives. But apparently it takes a bit more than that, especially (again, if you’re anything at all like me) when you have a history of abject abuse by your own hands. I realize that this is a process in which I’ll be engaged for the rest of my life, so I don’t expect any fast answers, but for fuck’s sake- Would it be too much to ask for at least a couple? Being alive is really goddamned hard, and none of us have a guarantee that being dead is any easier, so it’s like walking the line between having a shitty job and not wanting to be unemployed. Maybe the trick is to make your shitty job as beneficial to you as possible… Do you get to steal all the office supplies you desire? Do they provide bagels every morning? Do you basically get to do whatever you want and still get paid twice a month? I’m clearly no life coach, but at this stage, this is the best analogy I can conjure.
For now and until I become wiser, the best I can say on the topic of taking care of one’s self to any degree is a thing I first posted on the IGs a year ago, but will again here just as a reminder to myself, or anyone who needs it;
A week after this cat took his exit, (and a year after Leroy traveled the identical road) I found myself sitting in my studio, very calmly justifying the same strategy. My family, wife, and friends would all gracefully move on, I was convinced. Though I didn’t know him, nor did I have any more invested in his existence than any other person I’ve never met, his departure colored my reality in an especially peculiar way. In the time since, I’ve only spoken with a small smattering of people about that evening. It was less a cry for help, and more the arrival at the fork in one of many of life’s roads. Anthony went left, and I decided to go right. And this is the thing I think people who’ve never before found themselves at this juncture don’t wholly understand. Just because that fork is behind you, doesn’t mean you won’t arrive at another somewhere down the line. As a matter of fact, chances are better than good that you will. I’m not writing these words to implore people to seek the help of others, or to say that there are people who love you. No shit. This is to say that if you’re in the throes of that intersection, just wait. Wait a day, a minute, or even a breath. I’m still reeling from Leroy’s suicide, and though I may hate myself on some days, I love those around me enough to never want to put them through what I assuredly will never get past. Life is precious, call a hotline, blablabla. Just honor yourself, and the storms in your head even briefly enough to at least see the sun come up tomorrow.
I heed my own advice daily. Also, and though it’s unrelated, if any of you have seen my passport recently, please let me know where I left it.
Thank you for the opportunity to vent, and let us now get on with the show.
First up let’s engage with a bit of art that doesn’t suck that was recently submitted by James, what read like so;
Figured you might enjoy this lady’s art;
I came across a picture of one of her cardboard paintings and it had echoes of your clown drawings, so thought I’d look her up and pass it along to you.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend full of leisurely pursuits involving a golden ratio of bike, kerb and keg.
James was right. I do like those little paintings, and they inspired to to carve out a little bit of time between bouts of absolute mania to spend some time in the studio ASAP.
Making things is proverbial life blood.
Before I get the hell out of here to do just that, I feel compelled to circle around to this post where I notified you of Bend, Oregon’s first annual Hotdog Hill Climb. Thankfully, Barry was receptive to some encouraging haranguing I sent him so as to get a write up.
Before we get to that though, I also think it’s important to include a photo of him from one of the original races I put on in Santa Cruz way back, as the kids say, in the day that I feared lost until only just yesterday;
This of course is Barry in slightly younger days (though he doesn’t really age, so what difference doe that make?) mouthing an entire can of beer as he prepared to make his shot, before utterly annihilating all comers in the cross country race portion of our event.
Anyway, from the mouth himself I got the following scoop;
Here is the report from the Hella Sweet Hotdog Hill Climb Challenge.
Upon pre-riding the course the day before the event it was determined that the hella sweet hotdog hillclimb challenge would be extremely challenging. So we had that going for us, which was nice.
The riders went off at 3 minute intervals. They were handed a hotdog when their time started, and were instructed to carry it to the top of the hill and into the hotdog eating arena and then eat the hot dog. One’s time would stop once the entirety of the dog was consumed.
People seemed to like doing it. There was a fair amount of hot dog debris on the trail, many rocks were ingested, many beers drunk, and distanced air high fives slapped;
The Our Saint of the Immaculate Hotdog title went to local heartthrob and backcountry yurt operator, Zeehandelaar, who, despite the fact he was provided a penalty jumbo size hotdog just for showing up, still managed to arrive to the summit with every piece of relish still perched stoically atop his dog. Crowd vote bestowed him with a 4 minute time bonus that was enough to catapult him onto the top step.
Women’s Champion Baroness Van Weiner complained the next day of a malfunctioning dropper seatpost due to the volume of cheese whiz stuck in it, but wowed everyone at the Challenge by posting the third fastest time overall and beating all manner of spandex clad, tire pressure talking, dorks.
If I was technologically more inclined all the attached photos would be pre-organized with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us, but that is beyond my email capabilities, so I present you with this smorgasboard of visually appealing images to peruse at your leisure, as well as the white-hot results.
This right here is proof that every so often, all one needs to stay out of their own way is a hotdog and a little bit of dirt.
You are doing great things here with your voice and place in the universe. Remember to take a little time to remember that you are a voice of reason that a lot of people look to in a sea of absolute dumbery. I quite often think of your situation and hope you are doing well and keeping a straight head on and being good to yourself. The cycles will continue and you will find your way, one day you’ll be up, the next you wont, but there’s always the next day. Plan and dream about what you want and how to get it, skate, meditate, bike, beer, art. In whatever order you choose. Those are the medications. Be well Stevil, you are awesome. That should be your mantra.
I appreciate when you do post. It’s harder now, not working in an office I have less dreary reasons to ignore the work I’m supposed to do and avoid it by going to AHTBM. Suddenly I will realize its been a minute, and of course its usually psychically linked to my need to go lay in a cold pool on the side of a river with a warm beer, or vice-versa.
You just need to make your way up here to Slow Down Land.
Let me hand you a word or two of wisdom from a pretty good dude, to use as you will:
“Trust that the universe and your guides will help you find where you’re supposed to be. Don’t succumb to the voices in your head, especially if your voice is as big an assholes as mine, and for the love of God be nice to yourself. ”
He’s right. Be nice to yourself!
Here’s the deal. I guarantee that if (Dog forbid) you were diagnosed with cancer, you would give everything to to be back right where you are now.
Life always seems hard and sucky, until it becomes more hard and more sucky, then one wishes they could go back to just plain hard and sucky.
Cherish what ya got. Go watch a documentary on the poor souls who have to cut up derelict ships on the beach in Bangladesh.
Hug your wife, pet your cat/dog, have a beer.
All things are relative. Comparing an actual situation to a hypothetical one simply doesn’t honor the actual situation. What I’ve got is an upended reality where it’s impossible to move forward while being in the throes of heartbreak, and uncertainty. So yes, while it’s certainly preferable to having cancer, it’s considerably harder than most things in life that I’ve ever experienced. I appreciate your ‘pull yourself up by the bootstraps’ perspective, but life’s rarely so simple.
There is a human tendency to see a reflection of ourselves in other people. This can be good or bad, of course. Yet, it is also a source of the empathy which drives us to cooperate, and thus far make it as far as we have as a species.
That’s the good part, I think. It’s what keeps me going mostly. Empathy.
Now the bad part.
Anthony Bourdain was a man who made perfect sense to me insofar as this is possible from a distance. His occupation on the face of it was to find some commonality among the wild and weird places and people he met. His was a paradoxical journey of discovering that we’re actually not that different from Timbuktu to Toulose to Toledo (Ohio, not Spain…though they’re the same too.)
The reality is quite troubling. What else went on in his unique and wonderful mind, I’ll never know. No one will. But, when I see his face in photographs like the ones you posted, I see a man weary of paradox.
And I am faced with a related paradox–the alluring quiet nothingness of the place where he is, free from pain, drudgery, tragedy and confusion; and the noisy, confusing, troubling and often wonderfully beautiful place where we are together. Both perfect paradoxes.
Strangers on the innertoobs (this one for example) hope the choice is the latter.
That’s all I got.
Thank you. As I said, and a conclusion I’ve recently realized is that there’s no promise that where he is, is better. Since I was in high school I’ve contended that if we get out of this life without hurting ourselves, or anyone else, we get to start a new chapter. If we blow it, we have to start all over again. I much prefer the former, however that looks, because I have no interest in doing this round all over again.
Not sure where I heard it first, or from whom, but I take mostly comfort from this:
Q: What’s it like after you die?
A: What it was like before you were born.
I take this to mean that regardless of what happens, or doesn’t happen, there is no connection between pre-life, life, after-life, next life, etc… So if there is a reset button, or reincarnation, the lessons that we learn in this life are never carried on to the next if it even exists. This life is all we get. So while it is wise to live each day like there is quite possibly a tomorrow, the odds are that there will be a tomorrow.
Will there be a next week? That I am not 100% sure about but we’ll see when we get there. Just gotta get there…
Stevil, I do hope that you take comfort and motivation from knowing that what you create here does help people get through their weeks until next. For myself, you give valued perspective and give me funny shit to think about, and fun but though provoking things to say to my friends, coworkers, and patients to help them out in their darker times. And while you may look back at your year of wandering, and the therapy and such, and wonder if it worked…maybe that is the point…to demonstrate that while some things may seem like the solution they are not really the solution but a brick in the foundation of change since tuning our brains up to be happy can take a lifetime of effort…then we realize that it was an impossible task and the process is the destination.
Jeeebus, I don’t think I am making any sense on the page. I do agree with you that the relativism of happiness doesn’t help most of us, and sometimes is harmful because it can lead to self-loathing for feeling down when you are up compared to so many others.
Oh, and I haven’t seen your passport around. Last time I lost mine it was in the copy machine.
Cheers. You are appreciated.